Aniah Ferguson is Not a “Brute” and Prison Isn’t the Answer

A widely circulated video of a vicious assault of a teenage girl has resulted in the arrest of Aniah Ferguson, the 16 year old Black girl principally involved in the attack. She’s charged as an adult with criminal contempt and mischief. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams offered a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrests of the other girls involved.

I found the video morally repugnant, unacceptable, unjust, and unbefitting of conscious character. But I’m equally bothered by resulting media coverage — especially from NY Daily News — that’s relying on tropes to push this story to the mainstream masses.


Brutes. Savages. This language has an unpleasant connection to the propaganda machines of the 19th and 20th centuries that mongrelized Black folk with identical terminology.

The behavior of these women is inexcusable, but I see past the actions. I see histories and context, and I connect the dots through a reasoned racial, gender, and class analysis.

Aniah Ferguson is emotionally and mentally ill. With a decorated rap sheet, Ferguson’s been arrested ten times, six of which occurred since her 16th birthday last July. Arrested just a month ago, she was charged with assault. In the past, she’s stabbed her brother with a knife, injured a police officer during an arrest, and beat up her 64-year-old grandmother. Aniah Ferguson has severe behavioral issues, which is especially troubling considering she’s a single mother of a 1 year old child.

She needs help. Not prison.

I empathize — passionately — with the call for justice. But justice doesn’t look like caging a Black teen with documented behavioral issues in the suffocating confines of the prison industrial complex. Prison is about revenge, not rehabilitation; her incarceration will serve no other purpose than to embolden her criminal behavior, erode the ability to emotionally connect with others, cause further psychological and sociological damage, and boost the likelihood for repeat offenses.

The manner in which we approach justice is sickening. A Black teenager with clear dissociative and violent behavior, isn’t seen as a victim whose existence is complicated and worthy of comprehensive health needs. She’s only a savage brute who should be thrown away and forgotten.

*Featured Image Credit: pulled from NY Daily News Facebook page

photo 1Arielle Newton, Founder/Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.


37 responses to “Aniah Ferguson is Not a “Brute” and Prison Isn’t the Answer

  1. Pingback: The Girl In The Purple Bra | Dave Lucas Reports·

  2. What would you suggest society do with her? Yes the prison system is broken but what is society to do with people like her who have no respect for anything or anyone? She’s been arrested 6 times and she’s a mother. She’s violent and a danger to anyone who crosses her path, including her 1 year old daughter. I’m curious as to what your opinions would be if we later read that she had indeed hurt her own daughter. What excuses would be made for that? Since the beginning of time we have learned the concept of good and evil and Aniah, in my opinion is evil and should be locked away from normal functioning people.


  3. This article is completely biased without significant sourcing. This woman’s track record obviously states that she totally lacks self control and she is only perpetuating her own violent circumstances. Unfortunately for the masses, they are the victims not the accused; for the populace pays for her mistakes in both emotional, physical, and monetary value. She obviously needs to be institutionalized as she cannot be allowed to assimilate back into a society that only slaps her hand instead of punishing and guiding her hands for their actions. Prison or no prison, she holds the key to her own redemption. I hope we may realize we are all stuck on this rock together, peace be with you.


  4. How sad. what happened to Aniah and these other girls to create such anger and brutality? Especially knowing Aniah’s rap sheet, there must be some abuse in her past to cause this level of violence. She must be punished but we must ask ourselves how we intervene long before a child becomes this dangerous. Very few people are born bad. If we don’t ask why, we’ll never be able to prevent more children from going down this destructive path.


  5. Im so glad whoever wrote this post. Aniah looks like she would be a zombie. All those girls look like zombies and what’s sad is we dont even know where the parents are


  6. I agree. Even her grandmother has said she has mental issues but such a diagnosis is never granted to black people. Only white suburban kids who shoot up preschools.


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